Seems fairly obvious that this will happen

Rare, it seems, is the aspiring actress who hasn’t been sexually harassed by a director, casting agent or producer, and in recent years many have spoken out about their experiences – from Dame Helen Mirren to Gwyneth Paltrow, Susan Sarandon to Charlize Theron.

The exploitation of actresses – and actors – is not confined to Hollywood. Equity, the UK actors’ union, is receiving ever more complaints and has established a working party to investigate and draw up a set of industry guidelines.

Vast numbers of good looking young women want these jobs. Ergo, some will exploit this in order to have sex.

Also true that some of them will agree to have sex in order to get the job. That no good looking young woman would do so is as ridiculous a thought as the idea that all would.

A problem that doesn’t really have a solution: other than the cultural one of asking and offering being acceptable and insistence not.

22 comments on “Seems fairly obvious that this will happen

  1. Plus, they are actors. Never shy in jumping on a bandwagon for publicity. Who knows if this stuff ever happened?

  2. I suspect the experiences relayed by all but Charlize Theron occurred a few decades ago, and there has been barely a wink passed since. Perhaps this is just a variation on the wrinkly old weather girls complaining that pretty young things are taking their jobs?

  3. Actually we had a system that used to work. It was called Methodism. I doubt that many people were ever propositioned for work in the 19th century. Before the Victorian evangelicals, who knows. Probably.

    Remember the British were willing to send their daughters into service because they did not expect them to be raped by the landlord’s son. Unlike, say, the Egyptians who did not like to take apprenticeships because of the general expectation that they would be.

  4. Maybe a working system can be found – ought to be possible.

    Similar issues with college and uni students. Do lots of pretty young women want to impress their tutors to get good grades and references? Check. Are they pretty skint, so that bribes/gifts are off the menu? Check. Would the tutor like to shag them? Check. At least, some of them. Is the tutor in a position of power they may abuse? Check.

    But while this does actually happen, it isn’t completely pervasive. It is fortunately a minority experience, and any professor who really pushed the “offer” of sex for grades is likely to be detected and kicked out in short measure – in the academic/educational context, employers are not so forgiving on sexual harassment. Many times more so if under-18s are involved.

    I recall reading that in some developing countries, sexual abuse of girls by secondary teachers in return for grades is very prevalent. That suggests it’s part of human nature to take advantage of the possibility where possible (maybe Tim N knows more, but in Nigeria that possibility of opportunity is very real) and yet in the UK it is a relatively rare occurrence and not some quotidien, albeit depressing, bargain/compromise that female students are used to having to face. That isn’t because Brits are better natured, but because teachers here face a legal and professional system that changes the payoffs, and a culture in which such activity is unacceptable. It shouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to apply something similar in the creative industries, though changing cultures and expectations is a hard slog.

  5. Are these aspiring actresses entirely passive in this situation? Does the situation never arise where a nubile young woman knowingly seduces a director or producer in order to get the part?

    I supppose the answer is “Because Patriarchy!!!”

  6. MBE,

    “It shouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to apply something similar in the creative industries, though changing cultures and expectations is a hard slog.”

    But this isn’t about grading someone fairly. A lot of supporting parts just need a pretty girl who can act a bit and there are thousands of them out there. It’s not like producers pick a terrible actress that gave them a blowjob. It’s that they pick from the suitable actresses that gave them a blowjob.

  7. “Are these aspiring actresses entirely passive in this situation? Does the situation never arise where a nubile young woman knowingly seduces a director or producer in order to get the part?”

    You’re not getting the concept of irregular feminist verbs:

    ‘I am exercising my sexual rights as a woman’

    but

    ‘He is sexually oppressing women through the power of the Patriarchy’

  8. The Stigler – “It’s not like producers pick a terrible actress that gave them a blowjob. It’s that they pick from the suitable actresses that gave them a blowjob.”

    I don’t know. I can think of some actresses ……

    And Adam Sandler come to think of it.

  9. Yes, Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller must be champion blowjob givers. There’s no other explanation.

  10. An offered transaction is just that–voluntary. If the offer-er owns the resources that he is offering. If Hugh Hefner is paying his money to make a movie and is willing to cast actresses in return for sexual favours then he can make the offer and they can virtuously refuse. No one is insisting that these women become highly paid actresses–it isn’t starve or suck. There are many other options.

    If however the male doing the offering is a paid agent misusing the resources of others that is a different story. If I am an investor in a film I do not invest my cash so some sex-obsessed freak can piss about hiring women because of their sexual willingness rather than their acting talent. I and all other investors put up cash to get a return not enable the ego and sexual antics of movie morons.

    That is the real reason to be against “casting couch” antics. Not the outraged egos of assorted whining rich women. How many times did these women engage in sexual activities just to win a role? I think you will find not even once is the answer.

  11. SMFS,

    “And Adam Sandler come to think of it.”

    Adam Sandler makes money. He’s been slipping recently, but for years, he made films that made a profit. And it’s because his films don’t cost much. Grown Ups cost $80m and make $271m worldwide. That’s a hit movie. Not my bag, either, but nor is the latest Julia Roberts movie.

  12. I remember reading an interview with Roger Moore, who said that when he started the theatre in the late ’40’s there was a gay ‘casting couch’ which had to be negotiated first and as a straight man he really struggled to progress.
    Strange that we don’t hear more about it.

  13. maybe Tim N knows more, but in Nigeria that possibility of opportunity is very real

    I’m not so sure about Nigeria, and I’d be tempted to say it probably doesn’t happen. Certainly I never heard about it, and – staggeringly corrupt though the culture was – it didn’t appear to take this form. I’d hazard a guess that anyone willing to give out BJs in Nigeria won’t be doing much towards getting an education anyway (why not just give BJs for money instead?), and also the whole Christianity thing might come into it (Thou shalt not nosh off the teacher, Jeremiah 4:34).

    By contrast, I heard managers in the Sakhalin oil business say they’d been propositioned in such a manner by girls looking for a job.

  14. Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller must be champion blowjob givers. There’s no other explanation.

    Well, in Stiller’s case there is at least one other explanation: dynasticism. His parents, after all, were Stiller and Meara.

  15. Phillip Scott Thomas,

    “Well, in Stiller’s case there is at least one other explanation: dynasticism. His parents, after all, were Stiller and Meara.”

    Again, Ben Stiller makes money. Dodgeball cost $20m to make and took over $100m. Meet the Parents: $55m, took $330m. Maybe his parents helped him get a break, but he’s delivering where it counts.

    (I don’t generally get the appeal, but Something about Mary and Tropic Thunder are great).

  16. @ Jonathan
    There is a passage in a biography of Oliver Reed where he went to the home of a notoriously gay director (allegedly his wife had written “mine” on his private parts) and he forestalled the apparently inevitable by dropping the name of his uncle, Carol Reed, a well-known and more highly-rated film director.
    All bullies are despicable, the cowardly majority even more so. .

  17. There is a story about Mae West meeting a Mexican-born migrant worker who was in California. She allegedly said “Show me your legs”. She must have liked what she saw because she invited him back to her place, took him under her wing, so to speak, etc etc.

    But then Anthony Quinn was a vastly better actor than either Adam Sandler or Ben Stiller.

    However I have never heard anyone complain about that story.

  18. Sandler and Stiller are both perfectly good actors. But they specialise in farce, which, by its nature, often looks like bad acting no matter how well its done. That’s part of the point.

    Watch Stiller in the first episode of Extras: he’s brilliant.

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